In just a matter of days, I will receive the season’s first round of crops from Turtle Bend Farm. I can’t even convey in words how excited I am to cook with fresh, locally grown ingredients again. Being the lucky woman that I am, I have a partnership with the wonderful people who own and operate Turtle Bend Farm. Each week, I am afforded the opportunity to play with beautiful fruits and vegetables and share a recipe or two with those who participate in the Crop Share. Now that I’m a blogger and all, I’ll be posting those letters and recipes here for you to enjoy as well. I wish I could share the actual ingredients with you too…but I’m not THAT technologically advanced!
Dishing with Ashli
Hello, Turtle Bend CSA Members! I am Ashli, and my business, Plan to Plate, is designed to help people, like you, put fresh, delicious food on the dinner table without any stress.
I plan menus, share recipes, go grocery shopping for folks, prepare ingredients, and cook meals. Then I deliver the goods to clients’ homes- sorta like a Food Fairy! I love food- and I’m up to my elbows in it most of the time. I am taken by the colors, textures, and the infinite combinations of flavor…endless possibilities and opportunities for creativity and joy. I join Mecca and Adam in their passion for sharing fresh, beautiful Georgia grown fruits and vegetables with an active, food-loving community.
I’ll be writing you each week with recipes that incorporate your amazing Turtle Bend fruits and vegetables. I am absolutely thrilled about the beginning of the CSA season, as I have been longing for the goodness that Mecca and Adam have brought to my table, chomping at the bit to get my hands on my next big, brown bag filled with gems harvested in Rockmart, Georgia. I never imagined how fresh, naturally grown foods would change my life and my take on eating and cooking. Last season, it was as if I had never tasted broccoli or sweet potatoes before- since the quality of Turtle Bend’s produce SO far surpassed any I have come across in the market or grocery store. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community, and I hope to inspire you to utilize your fresh ingredients in simple ways that bring happiness to you and your families.
In preparing for this first share, I have been imagining myself with a red, sticky face, streams of strawberry juice dripping down my hands. The intoxicating smell of fresh strawberries has been dancing in my head for weeks now. Today, I have prepared a lovely, springy salad that balances the peppery quality of arugula with the spiciness of radishes and the luscious sweetness of strawberries.
Strawberry and Arugula Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
3 big handfuls of your TB arugula/ spring mix, rinsed and spun dry
8 – 10 TB strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 – 3 TB radishes, tops and ends discarded, sliced in rings or half rings
One sizable wedge of gorgonzola or blue cheese, cut into ½ inch thick triangles (Cold cheese is easiest to cut and manipulate. Clean your knife after each slice to avoid crumbling, but don’t sweat it if breakage occurs.)
½ Cup pecans, roasted or lightly toasted in a dry pan over medium low heat
Pulse pecans in a food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper just until the nuts are small and uniform (don’t over-process or you’ll have pecan butter!)
Put your pecan crumbles onto a plate. Gently press your blue cheese wedges into the nut mixture, coating the cheese with nuts.
Set aside in the refrigerator until you’re ready to plate.
For the dressing:
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 T red wine vinegar
¼ Cup fresh TB flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly stream in Extra Virgin Olive Oil while whisking vigorously, up to about ½ Cup of EVOO. (Or you can shake all of the ingredients well in a small jar.) Taste your dressing-it should be tart- but adjust seasoning to your liking.
In a large bowl, place the salad greens and lightly dress them with your vinaigrette. Then, in each of four small shallow bowls or plates, place a handful of the dressed greens. Place a ring of strawberries around the outside. Lay your radish slices inside the strawberries. In the middle, place a slice or two of pecan dusted blue cheese. You can put the remaining dressing in a small pitcher in case anyone wants extra during dinner.
Enjoy this simple, delicious salad as a vegetarian entree, as side dish for a grilled or roasted chicken, or top it with bacon or pancetta to round out the flavor extravaganza!!
I hope you are as excited as I am to get in the kitchen and embrace the freshness that lies ahead this season. My recipes are meant to inspire and motivate you through adventures in cooking with fresh, simple ingredients. Please feel free to bend the guidelines to suit your taste buds. I encourage you to be creative and play with your food.
If you’d like to know about how I can help make your cooking life easier, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy cooking and eating,